First Position (2012)



Critic Consensus: An upbeat and visually dramatic documentary of children's ballet, First Position displays the potential of the human spirit when fostered at a young age.

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Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman's award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow. -- (C) IFC
Art House & International , Comedy , Documentary , Drama , Kids & Family , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for First Position

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (29)

Undeniably effective as drama, as we ponder the varying degrees of ambition and talent driving these young people to push their bodies beyond the limit in the hope of grasping a future in the spotlight.

Full Review… | April 10, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

It does a great job developing its characters through its visuals - these are superphysical kids - and honing in on family dynamics.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

When it's over, you won't remember so much about who won and who lost. Instead, what remains is the expression on a young dancer's face, reflected in a mirror: showing the joy of being in love with what you do.

May 24, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

For someone (like me) who has never been to a ballet, the talent of these teens and tweens is a revelation.

Full Review… | May 17, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

A number of the performances are plain stunning - Aran and Joan, in particular, seem born to move - and in many ways watching the movie is like watching a sporting event; there are winners and losers and favorites to cheer on.

Full Review… | May 16, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for First Position

Stunning, beautiful, and heartbreaking all in one. First Position is a fantastic documentary, and likely the best of its kind that I have ever seen. Everyone, but especially athletes who are not ballet dancers should appreciate and be floored by the kind of pressure and demand that these world-class kids need to put forth to simply get a chance to do what they love. I don't believe is classifying one sport over another, but ballet is simply insane. Each child is an interesting subject, some displaying immense maturity for their age, others showcasing their intense passion for dance in their routines. I loved following their stories through their journeys. First Position is my favorite movie I've seen this year, and is well worth a watch, regardless your opinion of dance or sport.

David Jin
David Jin

A beautiful portrayal of what unyielding passion, resilience and dedication can accomplish. First Position is beyond inspirational and showcases the elegance, grace and hardships of the art of ballet.

Bobby Leyva
Bobby Leyva

Even though it's predictable, First Position is an insightful film into the lives of aspiring ballet dancers. Upbeat, funny, involving, and precise, First Position is a window into the competitive world of the world class ballet. Getting to know all the dancers is a lot of fun and we go through their journey with them, we understand their pain, their trials and tribulations, and in the end, we can't help but clap and cheer for them. A great time at the theatre, or a great window about getting into the professional world of ballet dancing.

Raymond Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

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